Last week was a crazy one. I had 2 group projects due and each one had a presentation to go with it. I’m proud to say both groups pulled off our presentations and we ended up with A’s. Whew!
Group projects are challenging on so many levels; organizing everyone’s schedules so you can meet to work on the project, getting everyone on the same page so you work on your project in the same voice to make consistent points and then everyone completing their part to bring the final product together.
But there is another side to group projects that I find very rewarding. UTD is a very multi-cultural school. I have worked with people I would have never gotten to know had it not been for group projects. In one of my groups this semester there are 5 of us. In one of our first meetings we started working and I stopped and asked where everyone was from. Zimbabwe, China, China, China and Texas – I am the only native US citizen in our group. I find it very interesting to learn about the different cultures and to hear what has brought everyone to the US and to UTD. One of my favorite stories is about a friend’s arranged marriage and how she moved to the US from India. We have found we have many similarities and we grew up literally half way around the world from each other.
I find it amazing how so many international students are able to do so well in an English speaking class and give a presentation in a language other than their native one. I’ve learned to cherish their stories, their differences and their cultures. In our group meetings we come together as one and no one cares about politics and how our political leaders act towards each other. What a great lesson…and it wasn’t even on my degree plan.